WHAT IS A PCR URINE TEST?
The PCR urine test utilizes a technologically advanced process to “copy” a portion of DNA from the patient’s urine sample in order to identify the precise pathogen causing their UTI, which antibiotics may be most effective to treat their UTI, and to which antibiotics their bacteria may be resistant.
WILL MY INSURANCE BE CHARGED?
Yes, this is not a urine dipstick or empiric treatment. In order to provide immediate service, UTI clinic specimens are tested using a rapid and advanced DNA detection technique, known as PCR. We will submit a claim to your Insurance carrier on file. After your insurance processes your claim, You may receive an EOB from your insurance carrier or a bill from AAUrology related to this test.
DOES MY INSURANCE COVER PCR URINE TEST?
CareFirst Blue Choice, Optimum Choice, and MDIPA Patients: Unfortunately, CareFirst Blue Choice, Optimum Choice, MDIPA, and some other insurance plans do not cover this service when provided by AAUrology, and do not have any approved lab in their network which does provide this service. As an alternative, AAUrology can do one of the following:
- accept a reduced rate of $125 for the service with a signed waiver or
- schedule an office visit and perform a traditional urine culture in order to diagnose the existence of any UTI. You may want to contact your insurance company’s Member Representative for more information on their coverage of UTI diagnosis and treatment.
**All Other Health Insurance carriers: Patients will be responsible for any applicable copay, coinsurance or deductible amounts, based on the terms of your plan and your coverage. you will be billed for any remaining self-pay amounts required under the terms of your health plan over and above that after insurance submission.
WHO SHOULD NOT RECEIVE CARE IN VIRTUAL UTI CLINIC?
If you have any of the following symptoms, your condition warrants more complex evaluation than we can provide as part of the Virtual UTI Clinic and, dependent on condition and availability, you should seek immediate care in settings such as those mentioned above.
- Persistent fever greater than101.5 degrees.
- Visible blood in urine which is ‘ketchup’ consistency
- Total inability to void
- Severe vomiting or inability to stay hydrated
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the delivery of health care services and health care related information using not in person methods of communication between patients and healthcare providers. It also sometimes encompasses healthcare providers exchanging information between themselves to enhance patient care and/or access to additional healthcare services. This may be done via utilization of several different technologies including wifi, computers, internet, satellite, iPhones, or smart phones. Telehealth may be deployed in a variety of locations including Provider’s offices, emergency clinics, hospitals, homes and nursing facilities.
Why Should I use Telehealth?
It is not always easy or convenient for our patients to travel to get help for their health care needs. The purpose of telehealth is to improve the opportunity to receive healthcare, when appropriate, in the most convenient and accessible way possible. Telehealth is another option for the receipt of care. The benefits of telehealth included shorter waiting times, less or no travel, less time off from work or other priorities, potentially less need to involve or burden caretakers. Telehealth often, but not always, involves a visual component where the patient and provider are able to see one another; however, in certain cases, the communication may only be a phone call. Examples of telehealth include video or phone “chat” for lab or imaging results, medication questions, Discussions about surgery, Pre op Questions, Post op questions, as well as Kidney Stone pain or UTI symptoms.
How common is telehealth?
Around the world, millions of patients use telehealth to receive care, monitor their health status signs, continue and modify treatment regimens, learn more about their and their loved one’s conditions and, hopefully, stay out of offices, hospitals and emergency rooms. Over half of all Maryland hospitals, and many clinics ,now use some form of telehealth. Many employers now offer telehealth as an added benefit in their health insurance program.
Is telehealth safe?
Telehealth is a safe and an effective way to extend the delivery of health care. It may not be appropriate for ALL clinical situations and a medical professional can help you determine if telehealth is appropriate for you. Guidelines exist for telehealth to ensure safety and quality. Clinicians are held to the same standards of care through a telehealth visit as an in-person visit. Similarly, the same standards for privacy and confidentiality for an in-person visit apply to telehealth visits.
Do health plans pay for telehealth services?
Telehealth has made connecting with your provider easy and convenient. You don’t need to leave home and travel to a doctor’s office to talk with your provider. As this option for care is getting more popular, you might wonder what your insurance covers when it comes to virtual options. Many insurance plans now cover:
- Virtual visits.
- Phone call visits.
- Medical advice via patient portal.
Health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover a wide variety of healthcare services available through telehealth. After your telehealth visit with your provider, a charge will be generated and billed to your insurance carrier. Your Insurance carrier will process your claim and there may be a patient responsibility for copay, deductible, or coinsurance. To find out if your health plan covers telehealth services, or what your responsibility might be, please contact your health plan.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR NEW PATIENTS?
We try to make the process for new patients as seamless as possible, but there are a few extra steps for a new patient to AAU. Calling the UTI clinic at 410-295-0626 before your visit will help expedite this process.
Additional information is required for new patients in order to ensure providers can safely prescribe given patient’s allergies, medications, and medical history.
- New patients will be quickly screened by an AA Urology provider to ensure their symptoms are appropriate for the UTI clinic and do not require a higher level or care or an emergency room visit.
- Insurance cards and photo ID are required. Insurance will be verified to ensure that AAU participates with your insurance and that there is coverage for the lab test.
- Completed forms including demographics, medical history, HIPAA, consent for treatment, and UTI clinic questionnaire are required to utilize the UTI clinic.
- An ongoing patient provider relationship is important to provide responsible, diligent patient care. After your first UTI clinic visit, a new patient visit with a provider is required. Unfortunately, if we do not establish a formal patient/provider relationship with an office visit, further UTI clinic specimen drop offs will not be allowed.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
Your urine specimen will be tested in the office immediately for evidence of infection, and a decision about short term treatment will be made on that basis today. Results from your PCR Urine Test will usually be available in 12-36 hours. After results are available, you will be contacted by a specialty trained urology provider who, when indicated, will prescribe antibiotic treatment in guided by AUA Best Practices Protocol for UTI treatment. If your urine analysis is negative and your symptoms persist, additional testing may be necessary, and we will then recommend definitive evaluation in an office setting to rule out other, less common, but potentially more serious, conditions. Antibiotics will typically not be prescribed after a negative test result, in order to avoid the risks of antibiotic overuse and the development of bacterial resistance.
CAN SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE PATIENT DROP OFF SAMPLE?
It is preferred that patients come to the UTI clinic themselves to complete required paperwork and submit a “fresh” clean caught urine sample.
We understand that in certain circumstances this is not possible, and exceptions can be made when a patient is immobile or disabled.
Please call the UTI clinic at 410-295-0626 to confirm that we will be able to accept a specimen brought by a patient representative. Required paperwork must be completed by authorized patient representative and the urine specimen must be obtained within 2 hours prior to the drop off.
CAN PATIENTS WITH FOLEY CATHETERS OR PATIENTS THAT PERFORM INTERMITTENT CATHETERIZATION USE THE UTI CLINIC?
YES…..For patients with foley catheters – urine should be obtained directly from the foley tubing (not the bag, which is contaminated with bacteria). The catheter can be plugged until urine is obtained from the foley tubing. Please allow extra time in the clinic if you have a foley catheter.
For patients performing intermittent catheterization – please plan to catheterize yourself in the office to provide a specimen for the clinic.
CAN MEN USE THE UTI CLINIC?
YES……………BUT UTIs in men are less common and often related to an underlying issue such as incomplete emptying related to an enlarged prostate, bladder stones, kidney stones, or prostatitis. Because of this, additional screening may be required, and an office visit may be recommended to ensure resolution of an infection and evaluate any underlying causes.
WHY DO I NEED TO COME IN PERIODICALLY FOR AN OFFICE VISIT?
While the UTI clinic provides prompt treatment of bothersome episodic urinary tract infections, it does not take the place of ongoing, routine urologic care. Additionally, when a patient has urinary symptoms, microscopic or visible blood in the urine, but no infection has been detected, it is imperative that a patient is evaluated by a provider in the office. Comprehensive evaluation and follow up are necessary to rule out other and associated causes of symptoms including, but not limited to, urologic cancers, kidney stones and urinary retention.
Do I have to have a video platform to receive remote care?
In general, most insurance products, including Medicare, require that patients have a video enabled platform in order to receive the full spectrum of telemedicine services. This can be accommodated from multiple devices, including most modern cell phones but it is important that there be video capability or an in-person visit may be required.
Can new patients be seen virtually?
Depending on your condition, many concerns can be addressed remotely without an in-person visit required initially. Please call for more information and to schedule an appointment.